I watched all of last night's broadcast. Yes, it dragged a lot, the jokes weren't particularly funny, the special-feature clip shows were mostly weird and awkward, and critical adulation hasn't made Matthew McConaughey any less douchey. I'll probably watch again next year. See, here's the thing: we're living in a pop culture world where superhero movies pull in millions of dollars, popular lit is overflowing with fantasy, sci-fi, and everything in between, video games are a massive industry, and so on. And if you like that stuff, like I do, it's nice. Just the sheer amount of stuff there is to try. But it can all start to be a little...overwhelming. Not to mention cynical. You hear about all these things that are, in theory, supposed to be about evoking wonder and awe, fantasies of a world different than your own, but all the chatter seems to be about whether it's connecting with the right demographics, whether there's good ROI, whether a sequel can be immediately greenlit or just eventually greenlit. Yes, that happens with entertainment of all sorts, not just geek stuff, and I'm in no way surprised: the more popular something gets, the more the money-vultures and #personalbranding douchebags are going to hover around it. That's just the way things go.
My point is, it's nice for one night a year, it's nice to be reminded of the existence of the Academy, monkishly cloistered band of aging grumps that they are, and how they can look at a $500-million-dollar juggernaut superhero or sci-fi franchise, maybe toss it an award for special effects, and then tell it to go to the kids' table, because the grown-ups are busy. First, it's just nice that there is a difference, two separate schools of criticism judging based on different criteria is rarely bad. It's humbling, in a good way-I think humility is a thing lots of people could use more of. And to me, I think it appeals to the underdog instinct that comes with enjoying geeky entertainment, a feeling that the squares and straights just don't get you, that has been lost in the process of such entertainment becoming the dominant cash cow-cum-juggernaut. I wouldn't say I want to feel that all the time, but for one night a year, it's fine.